By Marni Brechin and Plonia Paetkau
Christie Millard, MTA
March 30, 1974 – September 26, 2018
Our Music Therapy community mourns the loss of Christie Millard, who passed away on September 26, 2018.
Christie was born in Chilliwack, BC on March 30, 1974. Even as a young person, Christie demonstrated a love for music and for people who came into her circle.
Christie was in the Capilano College Music Therapy program from 1995 to 1997. She graduated with the Bachelor of Music Therapy degree through Open Learning University.
She completed her internship hours at Parkholm Lodge, a facility for seniors. At Parkholm, Christie quickly adapted to the changing needs of the residents and was always willing to plan and implement relevant and engaging programs. She was known for her “Why Not?!” attitude and got involved in making music with people at Parkholm, as well as playing and singing in special events programs. Christie had a way of engaging people who were reluctant to join in programs for one or more reasons. She simply asked “Why not?!” and that question often won them over. They would decide to give the program a try, and often they became regular attendees.
Early in her profession, Christie demonstrated an interest in networking and collaboration. In the days before Regional Groups, several Music Therapists in the Fraser Valley began meeting regularly for accountability, to share ideas, challenges and to collaborate on various Music Therapy projects, such as writing articles for The Drumbeat. Christie was an active member of this group and used the time together to encourage and support and advance the professional practice of Music Therapy. Christie continued to work toward certification, which she received in 2008.
Christie married Richard Millard on July 12, 1997. They settled for several years in Chilliwack, where she worked as a Music Therapist at several facilities: Heritage Village, The Waverly, and Valleyhaven. She also taught flute and piano from her private studio in her home. She encouraged her students towards excellence in performance but also to enjoy the music they made. She also played flute in a local orchestra.
Christie and Richard’s family grew during this period– their son Caleb was born in 2001 and their daughter Jillian in 2003. They moved to Penticton in 2003, and quickly got involved in their church and community. Shortly after their move to Penticton, Christie was hired to be in charge of the Children’s Ministry at Penticton Alliance Church. This job grew and she opened up a childcare center at the church. She used her musical knowledge to enhance the programs she led.
She also started a private practice from her home called “In Touch Music Therapy” and worked with clients with developmental challenges and autism. She had a great impact in her community and promoted Music Therapy easily and comfortably. She volunteered to be a Regional Representative for MTABC as part of her continued passion to advance Music Therapy in the community. As time progressed, Christie made plans to implement a variety of Music Therapy children’s group programs. Everything was in place to begin these programs when Christie was diagnosed with leukemia in the fall of 2012.
Thus began her journey through the world of treatment for leukemia and a stem cell transplant. She spent a year with her family in Vancouver receiving treatment. Christie (and Richard) chronicled this journey for loved ones and friends. She filled each letter with specifics of her treatments, but also remained optimistic, and joyful in the midst of what she was going through. She chose a “Why Not?!” attitude through this journey as well – and relied on her faith in Jesus Christ to see her through. She often repeated the verse from Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” to help her through painful treatments. She demonstrated perseverance and patience. In April of 2018, Christie celebrated five years of being cancer free. After her remission, Christie got a contract in a long-term care facility, and worked there briefly, before her health deteriorated and she had to stop working.
Christie had an indomitable spirit and enthusiasm for life. She displayed an enormous amount of endurance throughout her journey. She faced each obstacle with faith and determination. It was a privilege to have been a small part of her journey here on earth. One can only imagine the beautiful flute music she is now able to play freely.